Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel – 15 September 2009

PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the Chair.

Councillors Waltham (vice-chair), Ali, Armitage, Clark, Ellerby and T Foster.

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

176 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests.

No whip was declared.

177  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 21 July 2009, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.

178 PUBLIC REQUESTS TO SPEAK – There were no requests received.

179 HUMBERSIDE PROBATION SERVICE – The Chair welcomed Steve Hemming, Chief Executive Officer – Humberside Probation Service and Kate Munson, Director South Bank Local Delivery Unit to the meeting and explained that following various articles within the local media, the panel felt it would be beneficial to speak to representatives from Humberside Probation Service.

Councillor Davison asked for an overview of the proposed job cuts, specifically what impact that they would have on the number of probation officers employed within North Lincolnshire.

Steve Hemming circulated documentation which provided Members with details about the National Probation Service and how Humberside Probation Trust was one of 42 National Probation Services across England and Wales, but only one of eight Probation Trusts.

The panel was advised that the Trust currently employed 500 staff, which equated to 450 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) and had an annual budget for 2009/10 of £17,249,000. Steve explained that the staffing ratio was proportionate to the workload and not representative of the population within each area of Humberside, this resulted in 48% being in Hull, 23% in Grimsby, 17% in North Lincolnshire and the remaining 12% in East Riding.

Kate Munson explained that the baseline budget for Humberside Probation Trust had been published by the Ministry of Justice and showed that the service was expected to make a saving of £2,154,000 between 2008 and 2011. Steve Hemming confirmed that this reduction would be difficult to manage and compared unfavourably with other areas.

In order to meet these budget requirements it had been necessary to look at the levels of staffing, with a proposed reduction of 58 staff. It was confirmed that two rounds for voluntary redundancies had already taken place and had resulted in a reduction of 38 posts, and that at present there was no immediate urgency to look at the additional 20 posts.

Members engaged in further discussions over the number of probation officers and probation service officers within North Lincolnshire, how the reduction in staffing levels would affect the workloads of the remaining staff, how the service would be able to respond to any increase in offenders and what impact this would have on any future probation service trainees.

The panel welcomed the information and Steve Hemming and Kate Munson confirmed that they would be happy to attend a future meeting to provide Members with an update.

Resolved – (a) That Steve Hemming and Kate Munson be thanked for their contribution and attendance at the meeting, (b) that they be invited to attend a future meeting to provide further updates, and (c) that the current position be noted.

180 LOCAL ACTION TAKEN TO MANAGE FLOOD RISK IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – Update – The Service Director Legal and Democratic confirmed that witness interview had been arranged for 29 September 2009, with a special meeting of the panel due to take place on 20 October 2009, suggestions were also made about holding site visits in the affected areas for some of the future timetabled meetings.

The panel noted details of two further meetings with town and parish councillors and also members of the public.

Resolved – (a) That Members be notified in writing of all dates and times for the proposed workshops and special meetings, and (b) that the position be noted.

181 PERFORMANCE MONITORING – The Service Director Legal and Democratic confirmed that the thematic leads from the Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Community Resilience Board, Environment Board and also North Lincolnshire Safeguarding Adults Board had been invited to attend future meetings to discuss the quarter one performance figures.

It was agreed that if any of the thematic leads were unable to attend the proposed meetings due to a change in circumstances, the information would be presented by the Chair and Vice-Chair of this panel and examined as usual.

Resolved – That the position be noted.

182 (9) LEADER OF THE COUNCIL’S FORWARD PLAN – SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2009 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for September to December 2009.

The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis. Members discussed various items on the Forward Plan.

Resolved – That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for September to December 2009 be noted.

183 ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.